WCCPR shares updates with City Commission

Published 12:30 pm Thursday, April 11, 2024

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As is often the case, the 5:30 p.m. meeting of the Winchester City Commission on Tuesday, April 2, was preceded by a 4:30 p.m. special meeting. 

While there, a group very active in the local community was represented. 

Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation (WCCPR) Director Jeff Lewis took questions and provided updates regarding the organization, which has seen growth and hopes for more. 

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“We love our parks,” said Winchester Mayor JoEllen Reed. “It is a great quality of life for this community, and we’ll do everything we can to help.” 

Early on, Lewis expressed gratitude for what the City Commission has contributed. 

“Over the last several years, the city has given us an amazing capital construction budget, allowing us to finish much needed programs that we’ve had, especially with a lot of infrastructure issues,” he said. “That’s really improved the park system. You can go to any park at any time now and you see programming going on.”

WCCPR operates nine different parks throughout town as well as both the Iron Works Disc Golf Course and Kroger Soccer Complex. 

While parks offer a variety of equipment for leisure and other outdoor activities, such as a playground, basketball court, tennis courts, walking trail, playing field, off-street parking, picnic tables, and more, one of WCCPR’s most recent innovations came in the fall of 2022. 

At that time, a set of outdoor pickleball courts were opened at College Park, located at 30 Wheeler Avenue. 

“The pickleball courts are being used even through winter,” Lewis said. 

While College Park has seen growth, it is far from the only positive example. 

“Some of the smaller city parks or our neighborhood parks we didn’t see a lot of use in…now [are] getting used all the time,” Lewis added, mentioning Fairfield Park and Wiseman Park. 

Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation also offers its advantages for aquatics. 

With an indoor pool at its facility, swim teams of three different high schools – George Rogers Clark, Montgomery County, and Frederick Douglass – have found a place to compete. 

“Pool space is hard to find,” Lewis said. “Less than one percent of Parks and Recreation [in] the nation has a pool, and that’s one thing that’s interesting to have in this…community.” 

While much improvement has been seen, there is always room to look for more. 

Recently, questions about the soccer field at the Kroger Youth Soccer Complex arose. 

Bids have been made for repair, and Lewis continues to have conversations with local officials about plans going forward. 

“I feel like we do a lot more with less,” Lewis said. “We have seven full-time employees.” 

Not undeterred, Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation continues looking forward, even having a Park Master Plan that can be learned about at https://www.winchesterparksandrec.org/park-master-plan

With more programs in the near future – including summer camp – WCCPR continues looking out for others in Winchester. 

“We do have scholarships available,” Lewis said. “We always try to make sure every kid has the opportunity to go and for parents not to feel like it’s a problem.”